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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.


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  1. If you can get the The Riddle of Steel Combat Simulator from their support page http://www.driftwoodpublishing.com/support/ to work, then that gives a an overview of how text-based combat can work. It's certainly skill based but with a whole bunch of dice involved so it's random as well. Like Poker.   What kind of  "dice rolls" are you trying to avoid? For example, is rock-paper-scissor ok? I choose attack A, enemy (randomly!) chooses attack B. A beats B so I win. As an extra bonus, with markov chains you cam make an AI for it if you want tougher opponents. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/science/rock-paper-scissors.html?_r=0   I like the King of Men's talk of resource management. Let's say a swashbuckler has stamina, health, durability of his sword, four hidden daggers and two pistol shots. Stamina regenerates quickly, health slowly, sword not at all until you find a new one. Health loss in swordfights is inversely proportional to the amount of stamina expended. Throwing a dagger gives you the opportunity to run away. Pistol shots are instakill but rare obviously.
  2.   In some ways I think the most interesting army variations come from how they are produced. If you gather your forces from across the land you'll get archers and footmen from the villages, heavy mercenary troops from the cities and knights from the nobles. Or something like that. Heroes of Might and Magic of all games reflected this nicely I think.   I wonder what your problem is with the doomstack. Is it the "elite units only" or the gathering of all forces into one huge army? The former can be solved by having cannon fodder valuable enough to bring along anyway. Your 20 legion doomstack is defeated by my 20 legion + 40 auxiliary legion doomstack. The latter, which a wise man once called concentration of force, is more of a strategic thing. If you don't want wars to always be "I gather my stuff, you gather your stuff and we fight in the middle" then you can make raiding very efficient. The Europa Universalis games do this to some extent, you can cause quite some harm by pillaging enemy provinces with only a few regiments. Combine it with good defensive bonuses so a smaller army can easier hold off a bigger one on home ground while your raiding parties wreck his economy.     In EU I've always wanted to tell my troops what the goal of this battle is. Is it to destroy the enemy army, to hold the province, or to delay them as long as possible so my reinforcements can arrive? In a "hold ground" scenario you would get defensive bonuses and inferior units would perform better (they'd be more dug in or on a hill or something) but the attacker could more easily retreat in good order because you wouldn't be in a good position to counter-attack. So now we have a few different situations: Both attack: Heavy casualties, one side likely to be destroyed. One hold ground, one attack: Heavier casualties for attacker, but defender less likely to retreat if defeated. One delay, one attack: Somewhat heavier casualties for attacker, defender likely to be able to retreat. Slows battle down, if applicable. One hold ground, one attack "if safe": Both sides exchange rude words and the attacker pulls back. Or something like that.     I sure do. Like you I had the EU mechanic as a sort of baseline when thinking about this. As a general rule I wanted a little bit of a rock-paper-scissors feeling without having too much "this unit has +50% against that unit". Less gamey but the same result basically. Also the consequences should be relatively easy to understand for the player, as you said.   First of all, scouting. If you have few scouting units, primarily light cavalry, you increase the risk of being forced into a fight you don't want. And decrease the chance of catching the enemy unaware for that matter. This bonus would be capped at a certain number of scout units. By the time you have a scout in every tree it doesn't really matter if you have even more. This would be implemented by some sort of maneuver roll when an army enters the province of another army. If it falls in your favor, you get some kind of bonus, potentially a huge one. Easy number: Risk/chance of ambush.   Second of all, mobility. Light cavalry might not stand up in any kind of battle but they can just run away with very few losses. Mount & Blade illustrates this well with their Khergit(=Mongol) faction. They weren't that much more dangerous than the other factions in a fair fight, but they would never fight fair. If we where equal or I was stronger they would run away. If they where stronger I could not run away, so every fight against them was to my disadvantage, which made them terrifying. So a more mobile army could more easily retreat in good order which is useful with delaying tactics. In EU terms, having units that are faster than enemy units might slow them down and/or cause attrition. Enemy quick units would offset this as they fight rearguard actions. In the most extreme case, an army of heavy infantry might be able to force a pure mongol-style cavalry army to pull back 9 times out of 10, but that 1 case when it fails, the infantry army would be surrounded and destroyed. Easy numbers: Some kind of "Pursue" score for each battle which affects chance of successful retreat as well as casualties taken if the army breaks.   Thirdly, "unopposed" cavalry gets a big bonus. Cavalry facing enemy cavalry is going to be an even fight. Cavalry not facing cavalry is just going to attack the rear and cause havoc. And you only have to have some cavalry to threaten with so he just can't surround. They can still be kept in reserve. This could be simulated with a rule like: if enemy has no cavalry, my cavalry get 200% bonus, on account of being able to run around and attack any weak point they find. Combine this with the possibility of routing enemy cavalry off the field and you can now simulate the Punic war! Easy number: That 200% bonus.   Fourthly, fatigue. A fresh soldier is a lot better than an exhausted one. Your hardcore troops might have broken the enemy but they're not in any shape to pursue and destroy. Luckily, even pitchfork-peasants can stab fleeing enemies. This is a great reason to have lots of cannon fodder in reserve. Fresh recruits can also be able to protect better units for short time while they regroup so they can get back and do the real fighting.   Fifthly, formation. A formation score would reflect a units ability to withstand cavalry charges and melee fights. Capped by unit type, so pike infantry can have a very high value, light cavalry and skirmishers have a low value. Skirmishers like slingers can lower this value by being annoying without necessarily dealing or taking casualties. 
  3. Well most empires fall apart because the people in them don't want to be part of it anymore. When ypou're so strong that nothing external can defeat you, the threat must come from inside the empire.   When I make a 4X game I plan to have an "external threat"-meter. If you are attacked everywhere your subjects will want your imperial protection. When you've defeated every credible threat and just have to conquer everything, people might prefer independence. Expect unrest and rebellions in the fringe worlds. The people of your enemies OTOH will stand united against the threat of invasion from you since you're the massive imperial power in this scenario.    This way mightier empires grow weaker awhile smaller ones make last stands, hoping the big empire might crumble.    
  4. Hello all,    Have you made a game design involving cards, tabletop or otherwise? Why did you put cards in there? What were the other options? Could the same mechanic have been displayed differently, especially in a video game? What core mechanic do cards provide in tabletop card games and what is the equivalent in a computer game? I'd like your thoughts on this since a lot of card mechanics (in video games) feel gimmicky to me especially when they display the actual card. I want the mechanic but do not want to be bound by the aestethic, so what's the mechanic?   One thing they do in tabletop games is providing a tangible marker of some kind. This is where the gimmic feeling comes from when translated into a computer. Sure, every inventory item in an rpg could represented by a card, every module in a spaceship, every regiment in an army. But on a computer that's just an aesthetic choice, not a mechanic.    So what can we learn from cards? Here are some of my thoughts on what mechanics cards provide and how it relates to computers without actually showing cards on the screen. Faithful translations of tabletop card games (i.e. Poker online) doesn't count, nor does switching from cards to Scrolls.   1) Collectibility Disclaimer: I've never played neither CCG's, TCG's nor miniature games so I don't actually know what I'm talking about. Clearly CCG's proves that you can collect them. This they have in common with miniatures. World of Tanks is an example of this, but it feels more like miniatures than cards in that you get exactly what you buy rather than a random set of cards. An example of this collecting mechanic would be a game where you recruit troops. Using standard clichés, you can send your recruiter to a dwarf village, a human village or elf village to get a certain kind of recruits, but the exact composition is random.    2) Fog of War In RL, cards are useful to keep information concealed from you yet available to me. Or concealed from all of us in the deck. In computer games it's very easy to conceal information from players (I'm ignoring hacking and hot-seat issues for now) so we do that in all kinds of ways. Actual fog of war, hiding unit statistics, line-of-sight, etc...   3) The Wonderful World of Discrete Mathematics and Probability When you play a card in a card game, they can be thought of as actions. This means that you as a player can make decision trees: IF you do that, THEN I counter with, OR etc... One way we do this in games is with various rock-paper-scissors mechanics: IF you get cavalry, THEN I get pikes.   4) The Deck When you have a deck of cards it can be used as a resource with some randomness thrown in. In video games we do resource management in all sorts of ways, like health/mana, budgets, etc. Remember my recruit troops example above? If that was an in-game action rather than something you bought or got "between" games, it could be an analogy to drawing a card from the deck: "You got a company of archers!"   5) Limits As a thinking tool they might provide limits, in a positive sense. If you tend to have feature-itis in your designs (like me) then the limitation that *all* information about a unit, item or whatever should fit on a "reasonably sized" card could be a good one.   What other ways can you think of that cards are used in games, tabletop or otherwise? 
  5. [quote name='ShawnCowles' timestamp='1331560555' post='4921335'] Based on the following assumptions: a) There is no stealth in space. Anything of any power worth noticing puts out far more heat than any chunk of rock. b) Weapons have an effective maximum range (as argued above). c) Newtonian (or Einsteinian if you go fast enough) physics apply. d) Orbits around the sun take months - decades to complete. e) Weapons are powerful enough to be 1-hit kills to anything (even cities). It follows that I) Everyone can see everyone else (a) and will able to easily avoid confrontation by making a slight orbit change months in advance (d). II) Everyone's flight path is predictable (a, c, d) III) You have to get close (on an astronomical scale) to hit a target (b) but once you hit something it's dead (e). [/quote] Regarding (I), if a ship can dodge with a slight orbit change, a guided projectile can do a slight change too. If ships have plenty of energy, so have the projectiles. It might be possible to drain ship's energy by forcing him to keep dodging. Much like a dogfight I might add. I don't see why (e) has to be true. Sure a projectile might be guaranteed to go straight through whatever it hits, but what if the ship is massively redundant? So what if the engine got taken out, we got another twenty. If it's an explosive projectile the warhead can be destroyed by counter fire. Energy beams are very dependent on your tech level, but you could easily say that whatever defensive measures you have (disruptive gas emissions, mirrors, whatever) takes less energy than it does to keep the beam firign. (I) You might avoid confrontation in open space if you want, but what about protection of planets? This would become similar to medieval wars where most battles where sieges and pitched battles only occured when both sides thought they could win.
  6. This actually looks like it could be fun one day, and educational at the same time! Anyway, since it's medieval, why not go feudal all the way? As a player grows more powerful he will have more lands than he can control with the action points available to him. Therefore he will have to recruit another player as a vassal to manage that land for him. If many new players arrive causing a shortage of land, new settlements could be built on the fringes of civilization. If there is too much land available (and if it's a problem) then plague, bad crops and other events could make the pool of lands shrink. So a player would advance by showing his skills as land manager or as a warrior in battle. The most reliable and trusted vassals would be promoted by their lord when new resources or lands become available. You could also make it so there is a maximum number of vassals that a player can handle given the maximum action points available. But have no fear! Your vassals can recruit vassals too, so after awhile you will have a truly feudal web of loyalties, pledges and alliances. To make it even more complicated (and realistic) this does not have to be a strict tree structure. Lord A can rule over some lands that pays taxes to Lord B while Lord B is a formal vassal to Lord A and have to answer his call to arms. You can make it as complicated or simple as you want, basically. But what would a player do then? As a general rule, you want to keep local troubles from bubbling up and annoy your liege lord. So keep crime low, order high and troops well trained. And when war comes, be useful! I'd love to see battles being lost because a player is too eager to impress their commander and charges into a trap. The lord could also dispatch various "quests" to his vassals, like arranging hunts/feasts, training troops, gathering resources or building structures. The key to good leadership is delegation. As a lord, you must protect and help your vassals when they need it. Certainly it's your duty to protect them if they're attacked. Other random idea: Spy networks. I wanna recruit spies among my enemies, my superiors, my vassals and just everywhere in general. This would be a social game, so better keep an eye on them. This would definitely be a niche game if it would depend so much on player interaction, but it sounds fun to me.
  7. I like the third option. Along the way the player could reach various pit stops whenever there's a lull in the fighting. [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl6uaq7DTdg"]Like this[/url]. Including the fact that they pop out of nowhere .
  8. [font="Georgia, serif"][size="2"] [font="Georgia, serif"][size="2"]This thread makes me think of this good old Spolsky-gold:[/size][/font][i][font="Georgia, serif"][size="2"][i] [/i][/size][/font][/i][i]"The moral of the story is that with a contrived example, you can prove anything"[/i][/size][/font] [font="Georgia, serif"][size="2"][i][url="http://http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000036.html"][url="http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000036.html"]- Joel Spolsky[/url][/url][/i][/size][/font] [font="Georgia, serif"] [/font] [font="Georgia, serif"][size="3"]Still I get the point you're making, but real life is not [/size][i]that[/i][size="3"] bad. If you're brilliant at university the people there with [/size][size="2"]social [/size][size="3"]skills are gonna know about it and contact you. That's my experience anyway, as someone who is more like Henry and less like John. I've also met a couple of people who were obviosly brilliant but wouldn't really function in a workplace. Usually they couldn't get their ideas across or explain them properly. [/size][/font] [font="Georgia, serif"] [/font] [font="Georgia, serif"][size="3"]If you're smart but lacking socially then maybe starting your own company is a bad idea. How about becoming the right hand man of someone more [/size][/font][font="Georgia, serif"][size="2"]entrepreneurial? As [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V74AxCqOTvg"]this video[/url] and to some degree [url="http://www2.tech.purdue.edu/cg/courses/cgt411/covey/48_laws_of_power.htm"]the 11th law of power[/url] points out, this is an underrated position. [/size][/font] [font="Georgia, serif"] [/font] [font="Georgia, serif"][size="2"]Lastly, while there is overlap between friendly and manipulative, they're not the same thing. [/size][/font]
  9. [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loSzpvq73FY&feature=related"]This guy[/url] is clearly scared even though they play a sort of coop. They're talking over Skype but each one plays single-player on their own computer. Haven't played the game so I dunno exactly what's so scary.
  10. Excellent post with excellent answers. Nice! [quote name='Wai'] ...Pure logic beauty about decision making... [/quote] I'd like to expand on this from a programmer's perspective. If the coding has any implications on the game design then of course you can provide suggestions or decisions, it's your job. This falls in the "necessary and you need to be able to explain why" category. If it doesn't have any design implications then you can still come with suggestions but be very aware that they probably know better than you, so be very humble and/or very sure. Unless you're better at programming than them in which case you're probably the lead programmer anyway so go ahead and decide. Personally, my ideal situation would be that programmers are able to spot important design implications in low-level code and bring in the designers when necessary. This way designers can focus on the high-level stuff. One example was when I was coding various item modifiers for an rpg (+4 strength, -5% dex, etc). While doing this I realized that the order in which these modifiers are applied matters. [code] (5+1)*1.2 = 7.2 (5*1.2)+1 = 7 [/code] It's a small issue, but it has effects on gameplay and the designer should have his say on how to handle it. He was brought in, we came to an agreement and everything was fine. Yay. As an aside, a designer needs some math skills. Games throw around a lot of numbers. Depending on what game we're talking about you will calculate stuff like damage per second, income per minute, experience per level or maximum speed given all possible modifiers. If you can't do it yourself, you need to at least be able to understand the answers you get if you ask someone. [quote name='DarklyDreaming'] [color="#1C2837"][size="2"]Show me you are a leader - show the way by [i]doing[/i]. This is really often missed - a prototype, even a rough one, would give your project a much better chance of finding real talent just because it shows you are committed to the project enough to get your hands down and dirty.[/size][/color] [color="#1C2837"][size="2"][/quote][/size][/color] [color="#1C2837"][size="2"]A good thing to do if you want free-as-in-beer members is to do all the stuff that nobody else wants to do. It's your job after all. One example might be testing where you track down when and where this or that crash occurs, or converting various files to the right formats. If people can focus on what they like to do, they're more likely to work on your dream, rather than one of their own.[/size][/color] [color="#1C2837"][size="2"]Speaking of which, as a designer it's probably good if you know how to read and use command line tools and scripts as it's usually a lot quicker for a programmer to whip up one of those, rather than full a rich GUI program.[/size][/color] [quote name='GHMP'] [color="#1C2837"][size="2"]I think this kind of view of game designers is common around GameDev.net. At least, that's what I noticed. Are all game designers really like this? It seems like writing up the GDD is almost considered to be no work whatsoever...like people just disregard it and say "You've done nothing so far" even if you have a detailed, well-written GDD. That just seems to be what everyone gets at when they talk about game designers - the GDD means nothing and they're useless members unless they code well, regardless of the GDD's state.[/size][/color] [/quote] Not everyone of course. I'm guessing they pop up more often because the good ones find help quickly and are already hard at work. Although I must say well-written and detailed GDDs are kinda rare. Often huge parts of it are fluff texts and race/unit/item descriptions that doesn't contain that much info on gameplay. Maybe with lots and lots of stats that seems to be just made up without any testing or solid mathematical reasoning on game balance. Don't get me wrong, the descriptions are important too, but fairly useless if a coder sits down to code the game. I have made several of these for the fun of it, usually in an afternoon or two. That's not much work. Still, if you're willing to show your GDD and let people criticize it then it's just a matter of time before it's both detailed, well-written *and* really useful.
  11. But you still need shelters don't you? I mean instead of a Factory building you can have a "Garage Hut" where all your scavenged vehicle-related stuff is. And a post-apoc setting like this is almost perfect for "research" the way it's done in RTS's: At first you have crossbows, towards the end you've scavenged enough stuff to assemble tanks. You can have one standard "junk" resource spread out like gold in Command&Conquer plus a "old tech" resource harvested from old "techy" ruins which acts like gold mines or Vespene geysers.
  12. Two things. First, what would you introduce to replace that removed micro gameplay? The only thing I can think of is to increase the complexity of each decision. Stuff like fuel, ammunition, morale, supply lines or chains of command would serve to make each decision require more in-depth thinking. This would turn the game from an "adapt on your feet at 60 decisions per minute" to "think twice, decide once". Secondly, I think you would get the same gameplay from more abstracted game mechanics as opposed to a more sophisticated AI. Watching the actual soldiers do their thing would just be eye candy if the computer does a better job than the player.
  13. If the sales are updated in realtime or every minute then sure the sales in the last 24h can drop. A minute where a copy was sold went out of scope while no sale was made this minute. Tada, 1 less sale in the last 24 hours. Which is what sooner123 said.
  14. An option to sections is to have stars formed into distinct clusters. This more hierarchical view would reduce the number of incoming attack vectors. As a newbie you would only have to worry about say 10 stars in your cluster and 10 surrounding clusters instead of 100 stars. This could be combined with a "sun position" mechanic where a fleet is visible a lot later if it has a cluster or star behind it. Thus attacks can come from anywhere but ambushes* are only practical if coming directly from a cluster. Which means that your anti-ambush movement-cancelling hyperspace interdictor probes are only necessary in a couple of strategic places. It should be possible to see all kinds of lines and vectors on the map, using the proper view. For example, making it easy to click "halfway between star A and B" by clicking on a line between those two stars. Or "between homeworld and enemy fleet". In general I think it's important to reduce the amount of 3D calculations the player have to do. If I want to intercept a fleet the game should provide as much guidance as possible on where I should send my fleet, considering relative speed, etc. Regarding exploration, wouldn't every single star be visible from the start? We can see a whole lot of em with just Earth tech after all. That way exploration is reduced to greying out unexplored star systems or planets, which is much easier to get get an overview of. A starbase could hold smaller craft with a long enough range to cover several planets or stars and be a lot cheaper per hangar bay than a carrier. *) Dunno if you can call interstellar invasions "ambushes"...
  15. Here is what the prosecutors themselves have to say about this: http://www.aklagare.se/In-English/ For some reason, it's not a direct translation of the swedish version of that page, which is more formal legal-speak. This is a very rough translation by me. Quote: Case #1 As has been previously reported, after hearing the plaintiff there is no more any suspicion of rape. This does not mean that I do not trust her. I have studied the contents of the hearing to see if there is reason to suspect any other crime, primarily molestation or sexual harassment, but my analysis has found no such reason. The investigation of this case is therefore dropped as there is no suspicion of crime. Case #2 Suspicions of molestation remains. I will instruct the investigator to hear the suspect. First of all, this means that the charge of rape has not been transformed into a molestation charge but dropped altogether. Secondly something is clearly lost in translation regarding the term "molestation". The swedish text says "ofredande eller sexuellt ofredande", something I personally would translate as "harassment or sexual harassment". However Google Translate apparently sides with the prosecutors on this one, sort of. The point is molestation should be read as "To disturb, interfere with, or annoy" and is not a sexual crime. The law for molestation cites "gunshots, loid noises, stone throwing and otherwise reckless behaviour" as examples of this crime. Bullying also tends to fall under this law. In conclusion, Assange is now suspected of being an asshole, but nothing else. It's too bad for him that the asshole-crime is translated into molestation.